Take a look at a residence that has used merely bamboo, plywood and corrugated sheets in its construction.

Introducing unique concepts, themes, and facades is an integral part of architecture, built to make a statement. Thus, experimentation with proportions and formstakes place, using different materials that aid an unique representation. Yet, whatever be the structure and its thematic representation, the use of brick and mortar forms an integral part.

Even when vernacular architecture is opted for, the materials used continue to be stone, in the form of laterite or random rubble, with RCC being the strength with structural columns and beams. Building a structure completely with timber, sans stone, RCC or steel is certainly not a common feature, while raising issues of strength and durability.

Yet, circumventing such reservations and possible difficulties in ensuring the longitude of the structure, architects Sandeep J.,Vimal Jain, and Manoj Ladhad of Architecture Paradigm have designed a residence on Doddaballapur road in North Bangalore that has used merely bamboo, plywood and corrugated sheets for construction.

Designed as a weekend home, the residence located in a green enclave on a large site of over 5,000 sq. ft, is structured to relax, unwind and entertain amidst existing trees on the site, keeping intact its natural environs. The notion of the pavilion arose from this concept and site conditions incorporating plenty of green.

Nice blend

Its design using bamboo and wood-based composite construction technique incorporates an elevated and cantilevered upper-level box and free-flowing flexible spaces that blend in the freshness of outdoors.

This one-bedroom residence with its fluid internal spaces has living, dining and entertainment areas and doubles as sleeping quarters while entertaining a large gathering. It has a stunning courtyard that also serves as an outdoor living space.

RCC and steel foundation

The structure is essentially erected using the composite timber and plywood columns that sit on a RCC and steel foundation. Incidentally, the use of steel in the structure is confined to the foundation with merely bamboo and plywood composite boxes fused with plantation timber framework serving as support structures to the upper elevated pavilion.

The walls at the lower level use bamboo verticals that are plastered with mesh on either side. Says architect Sandeep, “Essentially the bamboo posts here serve as columns with two layers of split bamboo covered by a mesh and plastered on top, serving as walls. This bamboo-structured wall replaces the conventional brick or stone walls. The columns supporting the wall as well as the lower level are purely made from bamboo.”

Corrugated sheets, plywood shutters

The roof in both lower and upper levels is made of corrugated sheets with wooden flooring marking the upper level. Plantation timber beams again support this industrial roofing.

To keep the interiors cool and prevent the corrugated sheets from heating up the interiors, the upper level has a ventilated air gap between the butterfly roof with a gutter and the ceiling to let in cool air as well as to allow hot air to escape.

While solid plywood shutters mark the windows and collapsible wooden doors ensure that the internal spaces can be seamlessly opened to the outdoors to give the ambience of a pavilion, yellow oxide flooring marks the lower levels with natural colours draping the timber.

The lower-level courtyard is natural yet vibrant, packing in an arresting red as a highlight on one of its walls while the yellow oxide stands in stark contrast against the refreshing wicker furniture and backdrop of greenery.

Says Sandeep, “A lot of research and experimentation went into the construction as bamboo is susceptible to climate changes and insects and hence can disintegrate over time. Treatment of it is vital to guarantee the strength of the structure.”

He adds, “Bamboo plantation timber is also notorious for warping and this needs to be understood to use it right.”

Team effort

The structure, after much debate, detailing, experimentation and consultation, finally took shape after collaborating with wood technologist late H.N. Jagadeesh, says architect Vimal Jain. “It was a team effort, each looking for varied solutions to ensure the right use of bamboo, wood and wood-based products as the main construction element.”

This technology is not only light but also a very sustainable way to build as bamboo and wood are renewable resources, he adds.

Spectacular effect

The end result is a spectacular piece of creativity, the Weekend Bamboo Pavilion standing out in its picturesque charm, the elevated pavilion projecting on to the lush green beneath while the enchanting courtyard serves as a fitting complement to the open green spaces as well as the fluid internal spaces that have been left open to interpretation, their uncluttered natural interiors incorporating no definition.